If you’re looking for the perfect city break destination, Prague is the place for you. The Czech capital is jam-packed with cobblestone alleys and beautiful buildings, along with beer gardens, castles, and markets — all making you feel as though you’re wandering through a European fairytale.
It’s Prague’s history that makes it the city it is today, rich in art, trade, and a royal presence. If you’re peering over the city from the viewpoints at Prague Castle, you’re going to love taking photos of elegantly stacked roofs, dressed in architectural design, with steeples and faded sand-orange and pale-green colors. But let me tell you, below those roofs, life is bustling.
Nicknamed the Golden City, the air is filled with magic, often sparkling its way from one jaw-dropping site to the next. The Old Town Square is a huge plaza busied with vendors, street performers, outdoor cafes and an enormous clock. The Astronomical Clock is famous in Prague and for good reason. Being the best preserved medieval mechanical clock on Earth, it’s no wonder that locals and visitors alike look up (literally) to the clock in wonder.
The Vltava River flows between the Old Town and Prague Castle and connects the attractions with the second oldest bridge in Prague. Charles Bridge is an impressively beautiful stone structure that was completed in 1402 at Charles IV’s request. Back in the day, it was used as a trading route between Eastern and Western Europe. There has not been a toll associated with the bridge for over 200 years and it stays open all day, every day. If you are exploring Prague by foot, you will be strolling across this bridge at some point. Walk slow and take it in.
During my time in Prague, I spent five days rummaging through the old streets, drinking local brews and hot wine, feasting on delicious Czech cuisine, and snapping pictures to no end. With so many options for travelers, Prague can be as expensive or inexpensive as you make it. Either way, you’ll experience the magic to its fullest.
THE BEST HOSTELS AND GUESTHOUSES IN PRAGUE
Pytloun Boutique Hotel Prague– ($79 a night): This hotel has a futuristic feel likely from all the interior see through glass walls, controllable LED lighting and contemporary art creating a unique space in each room. The common areas are just about as impressive as the rooms, with a courtyard hovering above Franciscan Garden and a dimly lit circular shaped bar inviting guests to join the circle. And when it comes to location, it doesn’t get better than this. Located on the Wenceslass Square in the center of the city, guests are close to all things good and fun including Charles Bridge and the historic city center.
Hotel Pod Věží– ($131 a night): When it comes to traditional classiness, this spot has got it figured out. Beginning at the unassuming entrance off a cobblestone path, the hotel offers charm from the moment you walk through the doors. Perhaps because the staff presents visitors with daily gifts upon arrival. Yes, daily gifts! Onsite, you can enjoy authentic Czech grub at the Pod Věží Restaurant, or you can choose to enjoy a meal on the incredibly beautiful summer terrace overlooking the romance of Prague. Just steps from Charles Bridge, Prague Castle and the Prague Square, you’ll need your walking shoes to meander the stoned floored streets surrounding the area.
The Grand Mark Prague– ($310 a night): Ready to feel like royalty? Good, because The Grand Mark Prague is ready to serve you. Perfection is common here from the luxurious suites to the daily organic gourmet breakfast. The property offers three restaurant options with fine dine Le Grill, and more laid-back options, Two Step Bar and the Garden Restaurant. You can decide where you eat while sipping your complimentary drink. You heard that right! Upon arrival guests are given a voucher for a free drink at the bar. The gigantic private courtyard is gorgeously inviting, especially by the host – a famed and colorful peacock roaming the premise. The location will give you a reason to get out on the town, as it is close to everything.
THE AVERAGE COST OF ACCOMODATION IS $173 PER DAY
Prague is one of the most bustling European metropolises, which means you won’t have trouble booking a flight regardless of your origin.
- Round trip from London- $35
- Round trip from Paris- $170
- Round trip from NYC- $541
- Round trip from Amsterdam- $178
- Round trip from Hong Kong- $866
Once you land, getting around is a breeze and will most likely be your cheapest expense. With two thirds of the city’s inhabitants using it, Prague takes public transportation seriously. There are short- and long-term options depending on your length of time in Prague.
Buses, trams and trains are all accessed by the same ticket, making it easy to purchase and use as often as you like. The most frequent tram routes run every four minutes while the average route runs every eight minutes. Buses are a bit more sporadic while trains are punctual and frequent arriving on average every four minutes.
Prague Public Transit Co. is an easy and affordable system. If you only need a single pass, you can choose the 30-minute ticket for a little over $1; but it’s likely you will need a lengthier ticket if you’re sticking around for several days. For a 24-hour ticket you will pay $5 and for a 72-hour ticket you will pay $14 for unlimited uses of all forms of transportation. This was the best option for me while I was visiting Prague as it allowed me to hop on and off countless times using various forms of transportation as I explored the city’s offerings.
Ferryboats and funiculars are not nearly as utilized for daily transportation, but the experience is a more beautiful one. There are six ferryboat lines open to the public that cross the Vltava River, while the funicular is a stunning way to travel up the Petrin Hill. The railway offers a relaxing and scenic tour for those looking for a new way to see the Golden City. And the best part? They are both a part of the transportation network so your unlimited pass can be used here too.
Hitting the town on foot is another common, useful and free way to sightsee. There is a flurry of narrow and small cobble stoned pathways only big enough for a pair of feet, which is why walking gives visitors an advantage in discovering the bits of the town hidden from others.
THE AVERAGE COST OF TRANSPORTATION IS $5 PER DAY
Prague is often underrated in the way of cuisine, yet it is indeed one of the top foodie destinations in all of Europe. Its history is thick with influences from Germany to Vietnam with dishes like schnitzel and pho being among the most popular. But the traditional Czech fare is where it’s at.
Kuladjda, a mushroom and cream soup is a staple (and must-try), while Palačinky, Czech’s version of a crepe, is found in every café within city limits. Guláś is the Czech version of Hungary’s goulash, but it’s a bit thicker with less veggies and chlebíčky, an open-faced sandwich, are go-to options. Duck can be found in almost any dinnertime meal menu accompanied by different pairings and cooking techniques.
Eating out is slightly less expensive compared to other European destinations but you can make it what you want between the plethora of options around every corner. Walking the streets, you will find it easy to stumble upon your fair share of street food. It’s more than likely, it’s delicious- and cheap. Slices of pizza or fried cheese are less than $2.
A traditional breakfast includes a cappuccino or coffee, a slice of rye bread, cheese, sometimes meat and jam or honey and will cost $7. Lunchtime meals run for $11 and are usually paired with soup, and sometimes overtaken by soup (Guláś), and knedlíky, dumplings served with a meat dish or Guláś. It’s common to get a beer with your lunch and good news, beer is cheap in Prague! A bottled beer will set you back $2 while a draft beer will be closer to $3.
Dinnertime options are a-plenty, but if you stick with a traditional Czech meal you will likely spend about €17 for your main meal, dessert, two drinks and coffee. Tipping is expected in dining establishments but it won’t break the bank — 5 to 10 percent is standard and based on service.
Drinking beer in Prague is an essential, with its reputation as recognized as Germany’s when it comes to hops, but there are other native options that will leave a lasting impression. Grog is Prague’s version of a hotty toddy, mixing rum, hot water, lemon, and sugar — It’s perfect on a chilly day. And if hot drinks speak to you, hot mulled wine with cinnamon is also a thing during the winter months. Both drinks cost about €3.
EATING OUT AVERAGE PRICE PER DAY: $35
The overabundance of activities in Prague is palpable both within the city limits and on the outskirts of town. Sightseeing in the Golden City can be as simple as walking out your hotel door with every street upholding the historical medieval features that symbolize Prague. Beer gardens are a-plenty as beer is practically a dietary staple, served around every bend and market in town. It might feel hard to explore outside the city, but I promise you won’t be disappointed. The Bohemian countryside is lined with untouched beauty, vast greenery, jagged rock formations, rolling hills and waterways sprouting up with every backdrop. Hiking is a big draw as trails are abundant and varying.
Visiting The Prague Castle is an obvious (but worthy) option to fill your day. The architecture alone is enough to impress any patron but add in the thousands of years of history and the UNESCO World Heritage site badge of honor and you have yourself a well-rounded historical must-see. Whether you choose a self-guided or guided tour, plan to hop over to Golden Lane. Legend has it during the Emperor Rudolf II rule, alchemists lived on the lane and often transformed the ordinary into gold. Single ticket admission to see the castle and the lane is $12.
Calling all history buffs! KGB Museum holds a multitude of fascinating, albeit twisted, artifacts from the Soviet State such as Trotsky murder weapon and the radio from Beria’s cabinet. When you are ready to dive into a different reality, venture to the expressive photo collage from the vantage point of a KGB officer from 1968. Admission costs are $13.
The John Lennon Wall was one of my favorite sites to take in- but more importantly, take photos of! Birthed in 1980, soon after Lennon’s murder, the Czech youth wanted to create a space that embodied freedom of speech and non-violent resistance. At one point the wall invited anyone with a spray can to add their touch; but after negative political scribblings began to overtake the canvas, the rules changed. Now, there sits a remarkable portrait of Lennon’s face enveloped by images painted by 30 world renowned artists. You can visit for free and are still invited to contribute to the wall, but you must do so with a pencil or chalk.
Puppet Theatre is a part of a long-held tradition in Prague. But this is not your average knitted handheld puppet, this is big time. The puppets are life-size creations with a personality to match. The National Marionette Theatre highlights the lifestyle of the 18th century through performances like Mozart’s Don Giovanni and the Magic Flute. The best part? The experience is unforgettable, but the tickets are cheap- $4 for a general admission.
Prague is one of the most eclectic cities in the world, offering a variety of ways to keep busy during your time discovering the area. Below is a list of different options to explore:
- Prague Castle at Night Tour– $28
- Historical Prague Guided E-Bike Tour– $49
- 3-Hour Gourmet Dinner Cruise– $125
- Best of Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland Day Trip from Prague- Hiking Tour– $184
- Prague Ghosts and Legends of Old Town Walking Tour– $20
THE AVERAGE COST OF ACTIVITIES IS $30 PER DAY
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO TRAVEL IN PRAGUE?
Accommodation: $173 per day
Transportation: $5 per day
Food: $35 per day
Activities: $48 per day
Total amount spent per day: $261
[Photo from the plane window via: Sergey Novikov/Shutterstock; photo of the Prague tram via: Adisa/Shutterstock; photo of Czech street food via: maksimee/Shutterstock; and photo of Prague in winter via: Feel Good Studio/Shutterstock]